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Hubs block out Key distractions

November 12, 1998|By DAN SPEARS

Francis Scott Key's volleyball team had a block party all set up for North Hagerstown Wednesday night in the Class 2A West semifinals.

The Hubs promptly came and crashed it. Then, just when the Eagles looked ready to fix the damages, the Hubs powered up again and finished the job.

The aftermath: a 15-4, 15-9, 10-15, 15-10 for No.4 North that puts it in the region final this weekend against Urbana.

"We were really, really excited for the first game," sophomore Nicole Morgan said. "We came out pumped and excited because we knew what we had to do."

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What the Hubs had to do was hit over Key's trio of six-footers on the front line. And Morgan (11 kills, 38 assists), senior Erica Dattilio (22 kills, 18 assists) and the rest of the Hubs continually pounded balls off a double block out of bounds for points and sideouts.

"Offensively, we couldn't get the hits to go down," Key coach Alice Smith said. "So we were on the defensive end, and that's why they were using our blocks. You cannot defend the entire first two games."

North (15-2) looked poised to slam the door in Game 3 with a 10-5 lead. But the Eagles (12-4) won two straight points at the net and took off, taking the next eight points as well for the game victory.

"We were unfocused, we were a little tired," North coach Tracy McKinsey said. "And we didn't hit as hard as we did in the first two games."

Game 4 started just as well for the Eagles, who went out to a 9-4 lead behind six straight points from April Capracola.

Then the Eagles' upset bid came crashing to a halt. Visions of this season's five-game marathon win came into North's heads - and the Hubs didn't like them.

"It was a team effort at the end," McKinsey said. "They realized, 'If we don't get it together, it's going to be a long night.'"

""I thought maybe again ... but we pulled through," Morgan said.

But Key also pulled itself down with some crucial errors down the stretch.

"You can't be down that far, dig yourself that hole and be able to get out of it in a game like this against a team like this," Smith said. "Up 9-4, you've got to get the kill in your eyes to put it away ... and we didn't do it."

North's seniors came up big again in the team's 15th straight victory. Ashley Olszeski had 11 kills and six blocks, Danielle Bergeman had seven kills, Michele Grove had 19 digs, and Amanda Nelson had 14 digs and five kills, putting the Hubs one step closer to repeating their appearance in last year's state final.

"It's a big goal for us to get back to that state final," McKinsey said.

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